A blog is like a pebble tossed into a pond. It begins as a single point. Upon contact with the water, the impact generates ripples, growing ever wider and more expansive, touching things the pebble never touched.
When I started this blog less than two months ago, I barely hoped that someone would read it besides me. Donald doesn't even read it; he knows that if I need to say something to him, I'll do it directly, not through this.
Eventually, I commented on a few blogs I found interesting and their authors returned the favor. My first comment was so exciting! I felt like I had progressed from the single point to the first ripple.
In the past few days, after visiting many new blogs and commenting on some of them, I am overjoyed at the reciprocal response. My community feels like it is growing and I am inspired by what I have found.
I love the image Janice conjured up in her comment when she said, "It's like visiting someone's kitchen and finding friends already at the table!" I am blessed to have such supportive and giving people reading my words and sharing their thoughts.
I would like to return the favor by writing about several posts that hit home for me. I have been thinking about them constantly over the past few days. Perhaps more than a coincidence, I have also been struggling at work this week, striving to be valued for the quality work I do and not for the number of hours I sit in my office. It is a work in progress and all of your words have helped me emerge with hope instead of defeat.
A few days ago, I mentioned Tess' post from The Bold Life, called Notice Anything? When I read it earlier this week, I was suddenly and uncontrollably brought to tears. Her conclusion reads: "If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made…How many other things are we missing?" Since reading her post, I have tried to make a point of raising my head when I walk down the street. I have tried to slow down and to remove too many scheduled things from my day. I have made a mental note to myself to pause and to reflect and to be.
Several of the blogs I read had timely posts about struggling with the work/career/happiness balance. Nadia at Happy Lotus wrote about "Working for Good". I have written about my struggle with the workplace and with the fact that I have not yet held a job I loved. Nadia's post gave me the much needed motivation to keep moving towards that goal and not to settle. Lance at The Jungle of Life wrote Happy Work, a post of support for those of us struggling to find the energy to get to work each day. I love his suggestion to "Be the happiness you wish to see in this world!"
Other blogs wrote recently about the best ways to respond to the world around us. 101 Smackdowns for Your Inner Critic posted First Response: Soften, which describes a Tai Chi movement and the best way to react. The author says, "When you soften, you remember what you need, and you remember what you have (which of course is all you need)." Megan at It's All About Joy! wrote Giving Our All, about avoiding kneejerk reactions. Her acknowledgement of wanting to change her life and stop being "Caught up in my head to such an extent that many days I couldn't get out of my own way, even if I had an army of people helping me" definitely hit home for me.
A couple of other blogs take it one step further and encourage readers to take control of themselves in order to improve their lives. Tess on The Bold Life in It's All About You and Karl at Karl Blog in Learning to Let Go both touch on this idea. Karl's post leads his readers through the steps to feeling emotion, controlling how we express that emotion, and how to turn it into something productive and positive. I definitely need to practice letting go.
One of my hardest challenges for letting go will be something Janice writes about on Sharing the Journey in Life Laundry...revisited. I left a comment on her blog and she responded with wonderful suggestions about how to simplify one's life by reducing clutter. I may have quite an opportunity when Donald and I move into a place of our own (someday) since most of our belongings are in storage in his parents' basement. I am looking forward to creating a physical embodiment of the changes I have been making in my life.
What will the next ripple bring?